Saturday, July 31, 2021

Identifying the Land Northward – Part III

Continued from the previous post as we continue with a look at the Jaredite Land Northward in South America:

The Jaredite Barges would have been driven into the shore where the coastal waters run into the Santa Elena Peninsula


As the barges moved to the surface in the upwelling current, they would have been drawn toward the west, heading directly into the center of the 90-mile long Santa Elena Peninsula where the ocean currents would have drawn them into shore, very likely somewhere between Chanduy and the Playas.

It is interesting that critics of this landing claim that the eight barges, without sails and dependent strictly on wind and ocean currents, would have traveled tens of thousands of miles and yet all landed in the same place.  Yet flotsam found along a beach where ocean currents touch, show debris from widely diverse places or origin. Besides, beyond the Santa Elena point, the surf is choppy and rough and would have been very difficult in the barges had they landed further north.

No doubt the currents would have brought them into the peninsula somewhere between Mar Bravo beach, where the waves are strong toward shore, and eastward all the way to the Engabao or the Playas, where the beaches afford a perfect landing site for the Jaredite barges where the strong currents bring wave after wave into shore.

It should not be surprising that the Jaredite barges came ashore along this 90-mile stretch that is constantly pounded by wave after wave of the north-flowing currents—in fact, all the currents move in the same direction and would have taken a floating object, small or large, along the same path to end up in the same area.

Consider, that on January 10th 1992, the Evergreen Ever Laurel, a large container cargo ship, was caught in a storm of hurricane-force winds and 36-feet high waves in the North Pacific south of the Aleutians, near the International Date Line, in the stormy latitudes renowned in the age of sail as the Graveyard of the Pacific, just north of what oceanographers call the subarctic front. Here the container ship was rolling from side to side with great force, and on one steep roll, two columns of containers, stacked six high above deck, snapped loose from their steel lashings and retaining links, and under the strain of the pitching, rolling seas, the 40-foot-long containers crashed into the icy Pacific and drifted away in the turbulent waters. The spill happened about 500 miles south of Shemaya Island in the Western Aleutians and 2,000 miles northwest of the Hawaiian Islands. 

According to International Reports, as many as 10,000 containers are lost at sea each year. They float above or just below the surface. Sometimes the break open and disgorge contents


28,800 rubber ducks and other bath toys that were headed from China to the U.S. ended up in the water and the ocean currents took them, and ten months later in November, some of the toys began washing up on the beaches of Chickagof Island in southern Alaska’s Inside Passage region, where they were discovered by beachcombers. This area is near Sitka, Alaska, about 2,000 miles from their starting point.

The following spring the bath toys were discovered all over 500 miles of the south Alaskan coast from Kayak Island in the north to Coronation Island in the south. The wide spread was due to the breakdown of the packaging and the ducks entering the currents at different times and in different locations. In the fall they began washing ashore on Shimaya Island at the western end of the Aleutian Island chain Alaska (Eric Heupel, “How does a floating plastic duckie end up where it does?“ Scientific American, May 2, 2011).

Thousands of ducks have drifted ashore, mostly along the Alaskan seashore and even down to Washington state


Since 1992 ducks have washed ashore in waves on the beaches of southern Alaska, showing that, according to the beginning location, objects afloat will travel the ocean in more or less the same pattern and end up in the same location.

Now the name Ecuador in Quechua is Ikwayur; Shuar; or Ekuatur), officially the Republic of Ecuador (Spanish: República del Ecuador, which literally translates as "Republic of the Equator"; Quechua: Ikwadur Ripuwlika; Shuar: Ekuatur Nunka), and in the area to the east and north of the narrow neck of land, beyond the Land of Desolation, is a city today known as Riobamba—the city of Moron.

While the topography of the Santa Elena Peninsula were the Jaredites landed, itself is relatively flat, with low terraces bordering seasonal streams and small rolling hills, the land is up to two hundred feet elevation on the peninsula periphery—inland, were mangrove forests and dense gallery forests along interior streams and separated by grasslands. Further north in Ecuador were costal rain forests harbored a great diversity of fauna and flora, and the further north into Colombia were wet forests and semi-arid savannas.

One of the reasons why the Jaredites moved inland rather than stay along the coastal area where deserts abound, or in the time of the Jaredites, where an occasional forest was located—except for the Santa Elena Peninsula where they landed, which was quite barren and not conducive to settlement—is because of the heat.

On the other hand, further north along the coast was the location of the land and city of Nehor, a Jaredite city, in the land Northward. It was the location of where Shule battled Corihor (Ether 7:9).

It was also likely not far from the hill Ephraim where Shule “did molten out of the hill, and made swords out of steel for those whom he had drawn away with him; and after he had armed them with swords he returned to the city Nehor, and gave battle unto his brother Corihor, by which means he obtained the kingdom and restored it unto his father Kib” (Ether 7)

In addition, the coastal plains were typically hot from the tropical heat, with the temperature becoming cooler inland at higher elevations, such as where the city and capitol of Moron was established, up in the hill or mountain country at a higher elevation than the coastal plain, causing Kib to go up to Moron from Nehor, which would have been along the coast: “And when he had gathered together an army he came up unto the land of Moron where the king dwelt” (Ether 7:5, emphasis added), and the “land of Moron, where the king dwelt, was near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites (Ether 7:6), making Moron not far from the northern border of the Land of Desolation.

Two distinctions of this area is that Santa Elena peninsula receives about four-inches of rain a year, and to the east at Guyaquil, the area receives about forty-inches of raino, and Riobamba about 58 inches per year. In addition, while the Santa Elena coast in the south faces to the southwest, the central coast faces west and the north coast faces northwest.

This Land Northward that Ether and then Moroni describes, certainly does not match any area in central and eastern North America, specifically the Heartland and the Great Lakes theories locations, and only slightly Mesoamerica.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Identifying the Land Northward – Part II

Continued from the previous post as we take a look at South America:

The Land Northward in Andean South America covered an area about the size of Arizona, which is around 113,000 square miles in size, and the seventh largest State in the U.S., in equivalent square miles. The Jaredite lands covered the size a little larger than Ecuador, including most of that present day country minus the southern portion from about the 2º south latitude southward, with the addition of a small portion of southern Colombia and a small portion of northeastern Peru. 

The Mountain ranges divide the Land Northward into three main vertically running divisions: La Costa, La Sierra, and El Oriente (the East) or Amazon Basin


The Land Northward, then as now, was divided into three continental regions—the Costa (coast), Sierra (mountains), and Oriente (east). The continental regions extended the length of the land from south to north and after the rise of the Andes, were separated by those majestic mountain ranges, including the Chongon Colonche Range along the Pacific coastal area to the west, which, together with the Mache Chindul Range is the only major mountain range west of the Andes and covered in indigenous tropical wet forest (before large areas were cleared for agriculture in the recent centuries).

The Cordillera Occidental range is one of two main mountain ranges, and runs along the eastern half of the land, with the Cordillera Occidental running along the western portion. A third range of these Andes is the Cordillera Central or Real (Cordillera of Quito), a chain of mountains in between, including the major volcanic peaks of Antisana, Cotopaxi, and Cayambe (Chimboraxo which are in the Cordillera Occidental).

The natural land hazards of the Land Northward (Ecuador and southern Colombia) included frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; and periodic droughts and floods.

The partition of Ecuador into three distinct vertical divisions: coastal plain, mountain ranges, and Amazonia (what used to be the Sea East)


La Costa. The western coastal area of the Jaredite Land Northward bordered the Pacific Ocean to the west, encompassing a broad coastal plain, which was the area of first landing, and then rose to the foothills of the Andes Mountains to the east, upward where Moron was later located. This coastal strip in the time of the Jaredites was forest, though by the time the Nephites moved into the land after 1400 years of Jaredite building and war, it was only with trees in the southern half of the land. Though the Nephites replanted trees beginning about 50 BC, which grew into great forests by the time the Spanish arrived, today it is estimated that 98% of the native forest has once again been denuded, this time in favor of cattle ranching and other agricultural production, including banana, cacao and coffee plantations.

The forest fragments that do survive are primarily found along the coastal mountain ranges of Mache-Chindul, Jama-Coaque, and Chongon-Colonche, and include tropical dry forest, tropical wet forest, tropical moist evergreen forest, premontane cloud forest, and mangrove forest. Collectively known as the Pacific Equatorial Forest. These forest remnants are considered the most endangered tropical forest in the world, and are part of the Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot. It is of medium grain black sand and cinder.

In the time of the Nephites, the mangrove forest along the coast stretched clear past the narrow neck and into Peru, or the Land southward, where the shipyard of Hagoth was located and where he built his ships just beyond the narrow neck (Alma 63:5) that carried emigrants to a “land which was northward” (Alma 63:4).

All along the whole coast of South America the wind blows outward from south to west all year around driving the ocean currents before it, until you reach the equator, then the coastal waters moves from north to west.

60 miles off shore there is a constant current to the northward, enabling shipping moving northward. From the south (Chiloe) to the equator, the current sets to the westward, and becomes stronger in the warmer latitude of Peru were it is referred to as the Peruvian Current. Its westerly set is felt on the coast between Arica and Pisco, especially to the southward of Pisco—this is where the South Pacific Equatorial Current Gyre heads west and back out into the Pacific to cross toward the Philippines and Australia.

Once a vessel reaches Paita along the northwest Peruvian coast, the westward currents become the strongest heading toward the Galápagos Islands. Along these coastal waters a light wind blows southward, especially at night.


The beach along the Santa Elena Peninsula (Punta Salinas). This is where the Jaredite barges came ashore—all along this southern shore of the peninsula


A 90-mile long Santa Elena Peninsula extends from the Bay of Guayaquil in the east along the flat land of the Peninsula’s southern coast to Bahía Muyuyo, and contains the westernmost point on mainland Ecuador that is bordered by the Gulf of Guayaquil to the south and the Santa Elena Bay to the north. Beyond Santa Elena, on the north side of the peninsula, the coast continues northward to Machalilla Point. The forests here are dominated by Ceibo and Pigio trees reminiscent of Baobab trees in Africa. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded in Cerro Blanco, among them 7 threatened species (including the highly endangered Great Green Macaw), 22 endemic species, and 30 range-restricted species. The macaws are carefully protected and are unlikely to be seen without special permission to gain access to the area where they're found.

The south of Santa Elena continues for 50 miles around the Gulf of Guayaquil and us the area where the Jaredites landed along the southern coast of the Peninsula. This is where the winds and currents blow inland and also past the Peninsula. Obviously, the Peruvian Current would have swept the barges northward along the Peruvian coast, and with the cold water current between this Peruvian Current and the coast, the barges would have bypassed the westward surface current that strikes the bulge of Peru and takes sailing vessels back out to sea.

This light current bypasses to the west of Amortajada Island (now known as Santa Clara Island or Isla de Los Muertos), which sits astraddle the imaginary line between the ocean and the Gulf of Guayaquil. Because, in part, the shoals that stretch almost six miles off the Payanas Point along the southwestern tip of Jameli Island, pushes the current to the west, and the Amortajada Shoals that stretch out for two miles to the southwest of the land, some of which are awash.

The current then continues on northward directly toward the eastern edge of Santa Elena Peninsula, through humpback whale infested waters, from which the Lord assured the Brother of Jared he would protect them (Ether 6:10). 


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Identifying the Land Northward – Part I

First of all, the Land Northward is described as having earthquakes, as was the entire Land of Promise. The Disciple Nephi makes that clear when he said, “…insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder.” He then went on to say: “…the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth” (3 Nephi 8:12, emphasis added). Note that the term “the whole earth” references the entire Land of Promise, i.e., the land promised to Lehi and his descendants and that covered in the Book of Mormon.

While the word “earthquake” is an English term dating far back in history from the late 13th Century, when the word  eorthequakynge was used for a “movement or vibration of a part of the earth's crust,” and made by combining “earth” and “quake.” In this sense Old English had eorðdyn, eorðhrernes, eorðbeofung, and eorðstyrung.

Old English had the verbal noun cwacung "shaking, trembling." Also compare Middle English quavinge of erþe "an earthquake" (14c.), earthquave (n.), early 15c. Quake Rare except in combinations, and now usually as a shortening of earthquake, in which use it is attested from 1640s

Defined today, it is a sudden release of energy in the earth's crust or upper mantle, usually caused by movement along a fault plane or by volcanic activity and resulting in the generation of seismic waves which can be destructive.

While the word “earthquake” is how we say the word today in the western world, in the middle east it is common to say: “quaking of the earth,” and the term “quaking of the whole earth” referred to all the land (or earth) making up the contiguous region people occupied.

The Greek word “seismos,” meaning “a shaking, a commotion, an earthquake,” is found 14 times in the New Testament of the KJV Bible—4 times in Matthew, one each in Mark, Luke and Acts, and seven times in Revelations. It does not exactly appear in the Old Testament, though it is translated as such, since by the time the KJV was put together, the word “earthquake” was known and appeared in certain translations of the word “ra’ash” רַעַשׁ, which means a “quaking, shaking”—and is translated as “earthquake” seven times, as commotion, rattling, rumbling, shaking, trembling, and tumult, 12 times.

It should also be noted that the Disciple Nephi describes the event of the whole earth shaking as though it was not a new happening, but the present one was far bigger, stronger, much longer and far more destructive than had previously ever been known in the during the 600 years the Nephites occupied the Land of Promise. He also made it clear that: “such an one as never had been known in all the land” (3 Nephi 8:5, 11).

Earthquakes, of course, create ground shaking—and sever quakes create extreme shaking of the ground. While this all happens in modern times in a matter of seconds or a minute or two, the Disciple Nephi said it took three hours! Three hours! Can anyone imagine a three-hour earthquake that shook buildings and toppled them to the ground?

An earthquake is the ground shaking caused by a sudden slip on a fault. Stresses in the earth's outer layer push the sides of the fault together, and stress builds up and the rocks slip suddenly, releasing energy in waves that travel through the earth's crust and cause the shaking that is felt during an earthquake (Ground Movement and Ground Shaking,” USGS, Department of the Interior, DOI Inspector General).

As a result, the Disciple Nephi said: “And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed” (3 Nephi 8:17).

Keep in mind that the largest earthquake ever recorded by seismic instruments anywhere on the earth was a magnitude 9.5 earthquake in Chile on May 22, 1960, and lasted for approximately 10 minutes. The resulting tsunamis affected southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, southeast Australia, and the Aleutian Islands. That earthquake occurred on a fault that is almost 1,000 miles long and 150 miles wide, dipping into the earth at a shallow angle. But the earthquake that the Disciple Nephi wrote about was in all the land, far longer than 1,000 miles and far wider than 150 miles!

Even so, despite his writing: “there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward” (3Nephi 8:11), he also said, “there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward, for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth” (3 Nephi 8:12, emphasis added).


In 1960 a 9.5 earthquake, the largest earthquake ever instrumentally recorded, occurred off the coast of southern Chile, which generated a tsunami that was destructive not only along the coast of Chile, but also across the Pacific in Hawaii, Japan, and the Philippines. The number of fatalities in Chile associated with both the earthquake and tsunami has been estimated to be between 490 and 5,700, an estimated 2 million people were left homeless, and in Hawaii, the tsunami caused 61 deaths, 43 injuries in Japan, where the tsunami hit almost a day after the earthquake, causing 139 deaths and destroyed almost 3,000 homes. At least 21 people died in the Philippines due to the tsunami


The thing about earthaquakes, they do not just happen, there is a specific and constant reason for them. This is the steady background motions of Earth’s crust which occur as a result of tectonic plate motions. As the Pacific plate slides past the North American plate, they become stuck at the boundary zone between them, which typically has many faults. If these faults are stuck, then there may be no motion across them for tens to hundreds of years, during which time they build up stress until an earthquake occurs. The earthquake relieves the stress, the fault is stuck again, and the cycle of stress buildup and release begins anew. This process has been documented on the Hayward fault and San Andreas fault for the past few thousand years using geologic investigations (USGS).

In the Land Northward, the home of the Jaredites for their entire stay in the Land of Promise covering about 1300 to 1400 years, with earthquakes, frequent storms, and lightening (3 Nephi 8:5,7), resulting in a more great and terrible destruction than in the Land Southward (3 Nephi 8:12), the Land Northward obviously would have contained more cause for the shaking the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder (3 Nephi 8:6). Since “shaking of the whole earth” would suggest earthquakes, which result from the movement of tectonic plates, which push mountains upward and cause volcanoes, the Land Northward would have to have been subject to earthquakes, be along large and lengthy joining of tectonic plates, and filled with volcanoes that are also described by the Disciple Nephi who stated: “And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness; And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all; And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land. And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen” (3 Nephi 8:20-23).

The volcanic ash from a single volcano can darken the sky so much that it is both difficult to see and to move around. Consider the vaporous darkness spawned by a dozen volcanoes or more erupting in the Land of Promise at the same time. No better way to describe these events than to think in terms of multiple volcanoes erupting from the extreme pressures brought about by extraordinary earthquake activity from multiple plate tectonic movement of built up pressures.

Map showing large scale earthquakes for the year—note not a single one in the Heartland and east of North America; Approximate epicenters: Light Green: 4.0−5.9; Dark Green: 6.0−6.9; Orange: 7.0−7.9; and Red: 8.0+


Thus, we can see immediately that the Heartland and Great Lakes models simply do not qualify for being the Land of Promise since: 1) there are no plate tectonics slamming into each other beneath the surface inland in the United States; 2) there are no volcanoes to create the darkness from volcanic ash eruptions, nor the darkness that could be felt; and 3) there is no record of drastic earthquake activity in these two areas; and 4) a long coastal boarder where two plates met, one subducting beneath the other over a long distance.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Questions for Mormons

 Another Critic chimes in on his personal viewpoints that are not based on the scriptural record!

• “Has no one told you the book of Mormon did not take place in south america?!?!”

Has no one told you it did not take place in what is now the United States? Mormon gave one clue: Samuel the Lamanite and the prophesy the Lord put in his mouth to say that at the time of the crucifixion mountains would tumble into valleys and valleys would become mountains, “whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23)—there are no mountains, let alone ones “whose height is great” in the Heartland or Great Lakes models. Also, the models shown on maps do not match Mormon’s descriptions (Alma 22:27-34), have the climate of the Mediterranean for abundant Jerusalem seeds to grow for two super grains (Mosiah 9:9); and there are no areas in these models that were once an island (2 Nephi 10:20); nor had ore of every kind (1 Nephi 18:25), etc., etc., etc.

• “It took place be in north America. Read the intro to the book of Mormon”

The intro, in part, states; “It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel.” Note that the term “Americas” is plural and means North America, Central America, and South America.

The map of the German cartographer and humanist scholar, Martin Waldseemüller, sometimes known as Hylacomylus (Latinized form of the name),  whose work was influential among contemporary cartographers, created this map in 1507, depicting the New World in a new way “surrounded on all sides by the ocean,” and named the continent for the Florentine merchant who had sailed down its eastern coast


South America being the first place to be named “America” in Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map—the first known map to name the new world (South America—Vespucci’s discovery) “America" in recognition of Amerigo Vespucci’s voyages of 1497, 1501–1502 to the New World—in fact, on May 10, 1497, Vespucci embarked on his first voyage. On his second and most successful voyage, Vespucci discovered present-day Rio de Janeiro and Rio de la Plata. Believing he had discovered a new continent, he called South America the New World. In 1507, America was named after him—starting first with South America, then in later maps all of the Western Hemisphere.

On his second voyage, Vespucci followed the coast of South America down to within 400 miles of Tierra del Fuego, realizing that a new continent (South America) had been uncovered as a result of the voyages of Columbus and other explorers in the late fifteenth century—Columbus did not discover North America, never saw it nor knew of its existence—his sighting was of islands in the Caribbean and also South America—he set  foot on the American mainland for the first time, at the Paria Peninsula in present-day Venezuela, South America.

Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian merchant, explorer, and navigator from the Republic of Florence, from whose name the term "America" is derived


Waldseemüller’s map supported Vespucci’s revolutionary concept by portraying the New World as a separate continent, which until then was unknown to the Europeans. It was the first map, printed or manuscript, to depict clearly a separate Western Hemisphere, with the Pacific as a separate ocean. The map represented a huge leap forward in knowledge, recognizing the newly found American landmass and forever changing the European understanding of a world then divided into only three parts—Europe, Asia, and Africa.

• “3 nephi, Ether, ("This land" “elephants, (mastadons).”

3 Nephi is an account of the destruction that occurred during the crucifixion, and is not a place identified other than in the history of such destruction as recorded in South America and not North or Central America; In addition, There are cave drawings in South America that pre-date anything in North America of elephants or mastodons. There are also two animals of great worth (ether 9:19) unknown to Joseph Smith in North America that existed and still do in South America.

According to joseph Smith: “He [Moroni] said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang (Joseph Smith—History: Chapter 1:34, emphasis added). In Joseph Smith’s time, and all the way forward until around World War II, the American Continent included North, Central and South America as a single continent. While today we think of America as North America, and Americans as citizens of the U.S., that is not true of Central and South America countries who also call themselves “Americans.”


Adam-ondi-ahman is not a place mentioned, described or suggested in the Book of Mormon. It is the place where Adam, who “presides over the spirits of all men” as the “father of the human family” would “call his children, together” to “prepare them for the coming of the son of man” and “[deliver] up his stewardship to Christ”


This has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon—it is about the time of Adam, and after the Second Coming. Neither the term—Adam-ondi-ahman—nor the concept of the place, its purpose, and the wind-up-scene in which Adam will be gathered there with all his posterity, has anything to do with the Book of Mormon.

“new jerusalem, garden of eden, choice land, land of promise, and of liberty, etc) 2nephi, all over the doctrine and covenants, Zions camp march.”

Zion’s Camp has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon: “Plains of the Nephites” is not found in the scriptural record, and most of the lands shown on the Heartland and Great Lakes models do not match Mormon’s descriptions in the Book of Mormon.

“Go watch wayne may's videos.”

As for Wayne May, you might want to read a very factual article (Materials, concepts, maps, Wayne May Distorts Facts about Hill Cumorah, by Duane Dahlem, January 2010; which can be found at: to show that not everyone finds May’s work factual,but downright misinformation.

“South america has little to nothing to do with the book of mormon.”

It has a lot more to do with the Book of Mormon than does North or Central America. As an example, South America matches 66 specific scriptural references, which we have discussed in detail in our Blog over the past 11 years

It might be worthwhile to look into matters a little more closely than you have before writing a critic on one of our blogs. All of this information is readily available in the scriptural record and searches on the internet, such as reasons why someone might disagree with Wayne May, or your claims.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Responding to Another Heartland Theorist – Part III

 Answering more of the critics’ comments:

• Comment: “The letter [from Joseph Smith to his wife, Emma], was cited several times in Saints, Vol 1, but the part about walking over the plains of the Nephites and the account of Zelph was censored in Saints Vol I. Why was it censored? Because it destroys the Mesoamerican Model and BYU scholars will not allow that narrative because their careers are highly invested in that bogus model.”

Response: Let’s not get carried away. The book Saints was created by the Church, not BYU, and as such, only contained standard gospel and historical information and events. Since the “Plains of the Nephites,” and “Zelph” were never stated by Joseph Smith to be a revelation for the Church, and no vote was ever taken to make it such, and neither are in any way expressed or alluded to in the Book of Mormon, they have no place in an official historical document or book regarding Church history. It is a simple fact that they are not contained in Saints because they do not belong on the same level as accurate information about the early days of the Church.

• Comment: “For a church that strongly promotes the Book of Mormon as scripture, why would anyone want to censor Joseph's; statement, "...wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionally the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity..."

Response: “There is no corresponding information supporting this eloquent description Joseph wrote to Emma. It, nor its type, is not found in the Book of Mormon, nor is it found in the Wentworth Letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune, nor in any of the official histories Joseph wrote or had a scribe write regarding the early years of the Church. 

Joseph sitting along the banks of the Mississippi waiting for a new boat in which to cross the river


In his letter to Emma, Joseph showed that his thoughts were upon her with “and in short were it not at every now and then our thoughts linger with inexpressible anxiety for our wives and our children (emphasis added), and he waxed strong in flowery terms as any man deeply in love might when talking privately to his wife—especially when both are young and recently married. Joseph, himself, never repeated this information, nor himself include any of it in his jurnals or histories. It was not meant for the Church—only for Emma.

• Comment: “The account of Zelph doesn't prove where Lehi landed, but it illustrates where some of the events of the Book of Mormon happened.”

Response: There is not a single iota of information in the Book of Mormon to substantiate any part of the events having taken place in the Land of Promise. Not only is it impossible to justify the overall map of the Heartland location, but almost none of Mormon’s 45 separate and specific descriptions that can be supported by the theory. Where are the two unknown animals that were beneficial to man; where are the two grains as important as wheat? What about Desolation being north of Bountiful, which as north of Zarahemla, which was north of a narrow strip of wilderness—which the Heartland Theorists claim is the Ohio River; however, a river is not a wilderness, even a “wild river.” In the U.S., wilderness is an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region. In 1828, it was described as a desert; a tract of land or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings, whether a forest or a wide barren plain. In the United States, it is applied only to a forest. In Scripture, it is applied frequently to the deserts of Arabia. Rangeland wildernesses in the United States are diverse lands, from wet grasslands of Florida to the desert shrub ecosystems of Wyoming. They include the high mountain meadows of Utah to the desert floor of California. Today, there are 765 wilderness areas covering more than 109 million acres that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, which is managed by the Forest Service.

A river winding through a wilderness area is not, in and of itself a wilderness or called a wilderness, which Heartland theorists claim Ohio River in their model is the Narrow Strip of Wilderness


In addition, rivers, which are not called nor part of the wilderness lands though often run through wilderness areas, are protected and kept "relatively untouched by development and are therefore in near natural condition, with all, or almost all, of their natural values intact. A wild river is one that has nothing to infringe on the free flow of water, such as dams or locks.

Within the United States, Canadas, New Zealand, and Australia, governments have opted to focus on rivers and river systems as a kind of “unmodified or slightly modified” landscape feature to protect, manage and preserve in near “natural” condition variously labeling or formally declaring such areas to be “wild rivers” or “heritage rivers”).

In the U.S. the policy is that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations

• Comment: “Most sensible people agree that the distances of travel in the Book of Mormon could not include such a wide expanse of Geography from South America to North America.”

Response: Doubtful that any knowledge person would disagree with this; however, the problem is not in travel from some far distant land to the hill in New York where Joseph obtained the plates. Take that requirement away—that the New York hill is the Hill Cumorah of the Book of Mormon—and there is no problem with such travel. After all, in the Book of Mormon, between the Land of Promise and Palestine and Utah, there are several duplicate areas, such as 2 Bountifuls, 2 Jerusalems, 2 Mantis, 2 Nephis, 2 Zarahemlas, 2 Ramahs, and duplicates of Lamoni, Moroni, Ammon, etc. So why are there not two hill Cumorahs?

As to what sensible people believe, it would seem unlikely that they would believe that Lehi traveled 2541 miles from Jerusalem to Salalah in Oman on the first leg of their journey to the Land of Promise.

• Comment: “We also know from Church history that the city of Manti was in Missouri per the Joseph Smith Papers at” (included a lengthy email address).

Response: This information about Manti being in Missouri was written by Willard Richards and Thomas Bullock, not Joseph Smith. Had it been the prophet, it is highly unlikely that this confirming information would have been so restricted and not been available in other sources.

• Comment: “This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are mountains of evidence to show that the events of the Book of Mormon happened in ancient America.”

90% of an iceberg is beneath the water line


Response: Response: There is also a mountain of evidence that the Heartland is not the location of the Land of Promise. As an example, where are the mountains whose height is great that Samuel the Lamanite stated; or what about the elevation, that though Mormon constantly describes going up to the city of Nephi from the city of Zarahemla, or down to Zarahemla from Nephi, in the Heartland locations, the elevation of Nephi is 676 feet and Zarahemla at 670 feet—hardly a match to going up and down!

What about an earthquake? In the last year, there have been 19 earthquakes in their Nephi area, of which the strongest was 2.5 on the Richter Scale. In their Zarahemla there has not been an earthquake in 34 years. Zarahemla area is one of the few states that rarely has a quake—the strongest has been a 3.5 on the Richter Scale, with only 13 quakes since European settlement.

Then there is no island involved in the Heartland as Jacob described; growing all the seeds from Jerusalem in a different climate; ore of every kind, especially gold, silver and copper—the Heartland had Copper, but little gold and silver. Where are the roads and highways from city to city and place to place; or the stone walls around the entire land; or Jaredite buildings of every kind; or other than working copper, there was no metallurgy; evidence of fine-twined linen and silk; evidence of circumcision under the Law of Moses, which the Nephites lived until the crucifixion. Nor did Christopher Columbus land in North America, or even see the continent or know it existed.

The point is, there are so many factors and descriptions in the Book of Mormon about the Land of Promise that simply do not exist in the Heartland model. Hard to justify “There are mountains of evidence to show that the events of the Book of Mormon happened in ancient America.”

Actually, just the opposite is true!

Responding to Another Heartland Theorist – Part II

Answering more of the critics’ comments:

• Comment: “ The driving distance between the Zelph Mound (about 3 miles east of Griggsville, IL) and Palmyra is about 865 miles. As the crow flies, it is about 733 miles. I have no idea what you mean by "100 miles."

Response: It was a point that people at war would not carry a dead soldier a hundred miles to bury, let alone the distance from Palmyra to the mound where Zelph was found—more than 800 miles between the mound and your Hill Cumorah, where the last battle of which we know took place in the scriptural record.

• Comment: “During the time of Onandagus, the people were scattered farther to the west to the Rocky Mountains.”

Map of the Heartland Theory. Note all out of alignment the map is to Mormon’s descriptions


Response: There is no suggestion that the Book of Mormon storyline included the Rocky Mountains—in fact, there is nothing in the Book of Mormon that even remotely suggests that Zarahemla was west of the Sea West, or that the Land of Bountiful was east of the Land of Zarahemla, or that there were any “Plains of the Nephites” in the Land Bountiful, or that the four seas were all in the north of the Land of Promise, or that the lower Mississippi was much widfer than the upper Mississippi, etc., etc., etc. There are so many inaccuracies in this model and theory, that we have written about them many times, including lists and scriptural references. Nine of those writings are specifically about Zelph.

• Comment: “About 56 BC, Hagoth builds ships which sail forth into the west sea.”

Response: While this is true, we also need to keep in mind that “And the first ship did also return, and many more people did enter into it; and they also took much provisions, and set out again to the land northward. And it came to pass that they were never heard of more. And we suppose that they were drowned in the depths of the sea. And it came to pass that one other ship also did sail forth; and whither she did go we know not” (Alma 63:7-8).

• Comment: “The Great Lakes were bigger and deeper 2000 years ago. Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie could have been one large lake known as the west sea because they are close in elevation.”

Response: 9,500 Years Ago, the glaciers towered above the ground, and the massive weight of the ice pushed the earth's crust down. The north side of the Great Lakes was pushed down further than in the area south of the lakes (Erie and Ontario) where the ice was thinner. The sinking of the crust to the north of Lake Superior caused the lower great lakes to drain away to the north, as if a plug being pulled in the bath. The water flowed out of the lake at this time through North Bay, Ontario and continued on down the Ottawa Valley to the St Lawrence Sea.

Once the glaciers retreated, the Earth's crust started to rebound (rise), resulting in the north side of Lake Superior to rise about one foot per century compared to lands along the southern edge of the Great Lakes (Lower Michigan, Erie and Ontario). This process is called "isostatic rebound" by geoscientists. The result is that the Great Lakes are tilting to the south, with more land exposed on the north shore of Lake Superior each century—meaning the lakes are getting larger today than they were in the past

The early Great Lakes before man, claimed to be 9,500 years ago. Note the dotted line around each lake showing the original size of the lakes that were initially much smaller


SeawayLake Michigan was a mere “sliver’ of what it is today, with Lake Erie a littler smaller then and Ontario close to its present outline. In the north, ancient beaches and shorelines have been submerged, as an example Duluth Harbor (at the furthest point west of Lake Superior has undergone 20 feet of submergence over the past 2000 years, which caused the lakes to rise (enlarge), not get smaller—divers in the harbor have discovered submerged ancient tree stumps which help in determining the location and elevations of these ancient shorelines (Matthew C. Larsen Chief Scientist for Hydrology, United States Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior, “Report to Congress,” Washington, March 2, 2006).

The many raised beaches on both the north and south side of the lake give further evidence both of glacial rebound and of the different water levels which existed in the Great Lakes basin as the glaciers retreated, consistently filling the lakes until today they are the largest they have ever been.

• Comment: “Today, Lake Ontario is about 20 miles from Palmyra. It makes sense to say "His name was Zelph, a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky Mountains.”

The St. Lawrence Seaway which, since 1959, has allowed shipping to reach not only Lake Ontario but Erie as well and thus all the lakes. The first locks were built in 1850, replaced in 1899, and again in 1959


Response: Lake Ontario is 325 feet below Lake Erie, and 243 feet above the St. Lawrence River—requiring seven locks completed in 1959 to raise a ship from the St. Lawrence River to Lake Ontario, with the combination of these locks, five of which are administered by Canada (Côtr St.Catherine and St.Lambert; 2 locks of the Beauharnois Canal; and Iroquois) and two administered by the U.S. (Eisenhower and Snell) forming the St. Lawrence Seaway, which permits ships to transit between “sea level in Montreal 243 feet upward to Lake Ontario (and another 326 feet higher through eight locks to Lake Erie)—interesting how an unaided ship made that rise in 600 BC.

• Comment: “His name was Zelph. He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky Mountains." Why can't people live west of the western sea?”

Response: In the entire Book of Mormon there is not one sentence, one word, or a single intimation that anyone lived, traveled or knew about any land west of the Sea West. The same can also be said about the Sea East.

However, those traveling northward in Hagoth’s ships that were “never heard from again” may well have landed far to the north, in Central America and over the centuries, some moved ever northward, coming into the area of what is today the United States, and becoming the people at the time of Onandagus, and living in the location of the Rocky Mountains to the eastern sea (Atlantic Ocean). There is nothing in the scriptural record, other than Hagoth’s northward-bound ships, to suggest this—but it is an interesting scenario.

• Comment: “The day after Zelph’s bones were found, Joseph wrote to Emma as he sat on the east bank of the Mississippi (4 June 1834) waiting for transportation to cross the River (I believe was the river Sidon) during the Zion's Camp March between Kirtland and Missouri.”

Response: First of all, the River Sidon in the Scriptural Record runs south to north. The Mississippi River runs north to south—a person can no more change the course of the Mississippi than they can change the meaning of scripture. Second, at this time, Joseph was likely thinking that the Lord had verified to him that there was physical evidence that Nephites and Lamanites once existed in the land—a land without borders and political divisions, but a vast area of his creation of which Lehi’s descendants had spread far and wide. Joseph would have been elated that this once again was verified to him and, more importantly, to many of the men who would replace him in the leadership of the church.

Joseph’s Letter to Emma written on 4 June 1834 while on Zion’s Camp after being gone from her several weeks


As he wrote to Emma, he would have likely been lonely for her to tell her all about it. Thus, he poured out his feelings in the letter he wrote to his wife—not intending it to become a pronouncement from on high! From the revelation he received about Zelph, he would not have known where Lehi landed, where Lehi’s Land of Promise was located—but did know that there had been Nephites and Lamanites in the land where Zion’s Camp trod.

Had he been told these things, he certainly would have announced them at the time—especially to his future replacements of the Church. But, alas, he did not, because he didn’t know. He only surmised that this land over which they traveled had been occupied by Nephites and Lamanites. But according to the Book of Mormon, not by Lehi’s immediate descendants that fill the story line of the scriptural record.